A few grateful moments lately, in no particular order:
- I take a moment, after the kettle has boiled and I’ve filled the french press to make coffee, to go outside. I pick 3 cherry tomatoes, I pull the squash vines back through the fence where they are sneakily attempting to get into the neighbor’s yard, I pull other vines out of the driveway and off the alley so that they are trained in directions that keep them out of harms way. I pick a leaf of mint, rub it between my fingers, sniff. I go inside before the mosquitos find me so I can make breakfast.
- I cut up celery, 3 or 4 stalks at a time, with a sharp knife. Some of the celery goes into a new batch of chicken salad, because I now seem to crave chicken salad whenever life feels overwhelming. I chop up the rest of the celery and a few carrots and package them together in a plastic bag to be frozen, for a future soup; not that I need to make frozen veggies, but mostly for the pleasure of continuing to chop.
- When watering in the garden, I take extra care with the fledgeling pepper plant, the lone survivor in a bed that was laid waste by marauding nasturtiums. I yank those terrible sneaky vine weeds off it, carefully disentangling before viciously yanking.
- The local community garden delivers a cardboard box full of zucchini and squash to my door, and the older couple who run it recognize me from the time I interviewed them about their work. Husband and I bask in the bounty, wondering why such lovely produce is so inexpensive for us, and with free delivery. Why isn’t it treasured?
- I take a break from cooking to go pick basil or cilantro; cilantro gets thrown in with the black beans for a taco night; basil gets shredded to top the pasta on another night. Husband talks about making a little balcony garden just for herbs next year. We sit outside with a citronella candle burning, surveying our yard and dreaming up next steps.
- Husband made a bar-height table out of an enormous butcher block a year ago; now, my last step to really clean up the kitchen is to take a scrubby sponge to the surface, removing coffee grounds, a stray onion shaving, all the creeping detritus left after days of cooking. I turn out the light, and go upstairs to sleep under the summer stars.